During lockdown, lots of university students are learning from home for the first time.
For My Quarantine Routine, we’re chatting to Lottie Hannay, a second year midwifery student at Kingston University who was working out of St George’s Hospital in Tooting before the lockdown.
Students in third year were able to volunteer to help in hospitals during the pandemic but those in lower years like Lottie had placements cancelled as they still need supervision.
Lottie is continuing her studies from home but has decided to help where she can, by acting as a volunteer sitter for the children of NHS staff via the bubble app.
My day starts around 7:30 am with breakfast consisting of Weetabix, a banana and a cup of tea.
Even before lockdown began, I was used to waking at this sort of time as I’d either be doing my placement shift as a midwifery student from 7:30 am until 8 pm at St Georges Hospital and so leaving the flat at 6:15 am or attending studies at Kingston University from 10 am until 4 pm.
I’ve found it helps me to stick to a routine and wake up early so that I can make the most of the day and sleep better at night.
Whist I eat my breakfast I start to plan out my day. I usually check the childcare app bubble to see if any requests have come in overnight.
I signed up to bubble a few years ago when I was studying for my undergraduate degree in Bristol and found it gave me paid work that fit in with the hours when I wasn’t at university and gave me the opportunity to help families.
It also meant I got to continue spending time with children as during my secondary school education I babysat a lot and was a nanny for a young family during my gap year.
Since lockdown, bubble has been working with medical students who have responded to the crisis to offer free childcare, after their studies moved online or placements were cancelled.
As soon as I heard about it, I immediately signed up as a volunteer. Studying midwifery and working alongside colleagues who are juggling childcare and work I understand the huge pressure NHS workers are under during the pandemic so any help with childcare is one less thing they need to worry about.
I then take a shower and get ready to face the day!
Currently I am not in university for face to face lectures or hospital placement meaning that much of my day is taken up with lectures that are provided for us in advance or are presented to us live using Zoom or similar.
I spend this time preparing and making sure I have my iPad with the lectures loaded for note taking, ready to join the conference call that starts at 10am.
My lecture begins at ten and follows the usual university day with a break at around 11am for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
I find I enjoy having this structured workflow to guide my day and keep me on track and I very much enjoy my studies. I feel extremely fortunate to still be working towards my degree and at present, the lockdown is not going to impact my qualification date, which I am thankful for!
Being in my second out of three years currently, we were not given the choice to volunteer in hospitals like third-year nursing and midwifery students but this time has meant we can get up to date with theory study and essay writing. Hopefully once the situation has calmed down, hospital placements will happen when the capacity for supervision and mentoring is resumed.
I take a break for lunch which is homemade quiche and salad. I’ve always enjoyed cooking so having more time to spend making meals and baking has been a positive for me.
I’m lucky to have two small local supermarkets at the end of my road and I have found it easy to pop to the shops and pick up what I need once or twice a week. I make sure to get enough healthy snacks to last me a bit longer now that I’m home all the time and the temptation to snack is much higher!
During my lunch break I check the bubble app again and see that there are some requests that have come through. I put myself down for two sits next week, which I’m excited about.
The University live study begins again in the afternoon and takes me through until 4pm when I’m itching to get in some exercise after being sat down all day at my computer.
I take a long bike ride through London as the roads aren’t so busy anymore, although the number of cyclists has increased! I enjoy cycling to the Tower of London from where I live in Chiswick.
The ride usually takes an hour now that there’s no real traffic. I’m very conscious of the need to get a full hour’s exercise in at the moment, as I’m sat still so much. I’m not a fan of running but I’ve always loved to cycle, and I find it great for clearing my mind and keeping me fit at the same time.
In from my bike ride and, as I’ve worked up quite a sweat, I take a quick shower and then I have some time to relax. I watch some TV – I love quiz shows and there are a couple on BBC 2 that are great right now.
I’ve also gotten back into doing embroidery, with more time to dedicate to it so I practice a bit of that before making dinner.
Generally, supper will be a fishcake with salad or similar from the freezer that I am able to stock up on easily and not have to buy fresh every day, reducing the amount I need to go out during this lockdown period.
Every now and then I’ll have a sweet treat like a crème brûlée if they are on offer – but I try to limit the number of sugary treats I eat.
I keep my evening availability open in case an NHS worker needs a later sit last minute and I avoid drinking any alcohol – I’m not a big drinker so this isn’t a big deal for me.
I use this time to chat to my fiancé who is currently based in Wiltshire, serving in the army. We are used to spending long periods of time apart but before lockdown we would see each other most weekends. Now we only get to see each other via video chats and stay in touch on Whatsapp.
We were fortunate not to have made any solid preparations for our wedding this year as we have it planned for the summer of 2022 and so look forward to brainstorming more when we can see each other in person and getting some invites in the post!
Bedtime is usually around 10pm to ensure I get a good night sleep. This has always been my routine and I’ve tried to stick to it during lockdown so that it won’t be a shock trying to adjust when everything returns to ‘normal’.
The bubble service is available to all parents working across the NHS, in any capacity. As well as medical and healthcare students, teachers and nannies are also volunteering. Bubble is also waiving all of its usual booking fees for NHS parents.